Published: Feb. 13, 2019

At its regular meeting on Thursday, Feb. 13, at the CU South Denver Campus, the CU Board of Regents considered a budget proposal reflecting no tuition and fee increases for incoming Colorado undergraduate students in the fall of 2019, a 3 percent merit compensation pool for faculty and staff and a $1 million initiative to support a total six percent raise for graduate student teaching faculty (TA) stipends. The board also approved the creation of civics certificate programs by respective faculty on all CU campuses and the consolidation of five CU Boulder education doctoral degrees into one.

Budget and fees proposal

Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Todd Saliman reported on the preliminary budget including proposed tuition and fees for 2019–20. The proposal includes the following:

  • The university is proposing no tuition increase on any of the four campuses for Colorado resident undergraduates for the 2019–20 academic year under the governor’s proposed budget, which it is supporting.

Sr. Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Kelly Fox reported on the Boulder campus proposal, which includes the following: 

  • More money for academic units, mental health research and graduate stipends.
  • An overall slight decrease in total student fees while still accommodating two increases for
    • student health to assist with covering the cost of increased support services and related costs
    • transportation fees, to assist with covering increases in RTD fares (which are being increased by RTD over three years).

This proposal builds on CU Boulder’s efforts over the past few years to steadily reduce students’ out-of-pocket cost of attendance in all income categories since 2014. Over that period the Boulder campus has:

  • Implemented a tuition and fee guarantee for resident students that locks tuition and mandatory fees for four years
  • Eliminated all course and program fees, which totaled more than $8.2 million per year in cost to students
  • Established automatic, four-year Esteemed Scholarships for all resident students who have good grades and test scores
  • Established and expanded financial scholarships and aid to lower-income students
  • Created support mechanisms and services for first-generation students who may be unfamiliar with navigating college
  • Expanded our work with several school districts to have high school students—particularly first-generation—visit the campus and spend time understanding the benefits of a higher education and how to apply—whether at CU Boulder or elsewhere

The board is expected to vote on tuition and the compensation pool at the upcoming April meeting, with final budget approval at the June meeting.

Civics education

As a followup to previous discussions about CU’s possible role in preserving civic literacy in society, Regent John Carson, a Republican from the 6th congressional district and chair of the University Affairs committee, presented four proposals about civics education on CU campuses.

The board approved the following proposals that will shape civics education on all CU campuses:

  • A proposal to request that each campus launch a civics certificate program next fall with classes available in the spring semester of 2020
  • A proposal to request that CU Denver and UCCS include a civics course in their work to develop 30 hours of online courses appropriate for concurrent enrollment
  • A proposal to direct the administration to survey incoming 2019 first-year students on their civics knowledge
  • A proposal to challenge each of the campuses to propose options to enhance civics education beyond certificates

“I believe we are respecting the faculty role as creators of content while also responding to a need in our communities,” said Board of Regents Chair Sue Sharkey. “We will start with the solution, which the faculty has proposed.”

CU Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano has been supportive of a faculty-led and interdisciplinary elective certificate program designed to draw student interest. 

School of Education doctoral degrees

The CU Boulder School of Education previously offered five separate doctoral degree major plans. This change consolidates these five majors into a single doctorate in education, with seven sub-plans appearing on transcripts as options describing a specific area of emphasis or track the student has pursued. 

This change reflects shifts in the field of education overall and will allow the school to simplify degree offerings, capture the interdisciplinary nature of the degree and lend more flexibility in sub-plans to reflect changes in the field. By ultimately increasing flexibility and marketability for doctoral students in the School of Education, students will be able to develop more than one specialty, which will help the school attract more students.

CU metrics deep dive—graduation and retention rates, CU Boulder

CU Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano presented about CU Boulder’s multi-pronged approach to retain and graduate students. DiStefano shared several new programs and initiatives that support our students, all of which fall into three areas: the first-year experience, the academic experience, and student health and wellness. 

DiStefano shared the following metrics as evidence that the university’s efforts are working:

  • The six-year graduation rate has risen from 68.8 percent to 71 percent. (CU Boulder’s five-year goal is 80 percent.)
  • Retention of students who enroll for their second fall has risen from 84 percent to 88 percent in the last five years. (CU Boulder’s five-year goal is 93 percent.)
  • Persistence to third year has risen from 77 percent to 81 percent. (CU Boulder’s five-year goal is 86 percent.)

DiStefano says that while we still have much work to do, our early indicators show we are making progress on these important goals.  

“I am pleased that we are making progress for all demographics and that our pace of progress for underrepresented populations exceeds the average,” DiStefano said.  “It is our moral and financial imperative to students and their families to reduce their cost of education. We can do that by graduating them in a timely manner.”

In other board news

  • Two CU Boulder graduate students addressed the board during the public comments session to protest the student fees that graduate students are currently required to pay. The board later voted to refer a resolution to support graduate students to the board’s finance and budget committee. The resolution was brought forward by Regent Linda Shoemaker, a Democrat from the 2nd congressional district. 
  • The board approved the formation of a task force on two diversity areas for a targeted study. The two areas selected were “diversity of faculty” and “diversity of thought.” The University Affairs committee will constitute a task force appropriate to the areas chosen, to be led by VP for Administration Kathy Nesbit. The task force will convene by March 15, with additional details to be announced later. 
  • The regents approved the contracts of six assistant football coaches and an extension for the men’s basketball coach. New head football coach Mel Tucker has finished hiring his staff for the upcoming football season. The Regents approved new contracts for Offensive Coordinator Jay Johnson, Defensive Coordinator Tyson Summers and position coaches Darrin Chiaverini, James Brumbaugh, Christopher Kapilovic and Ross Els. The Athletic Department will submit four other contracts to CU Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano that were under the dollar threshold requiring board approval. Running backs coach Darian Hagan, a former Buffs star quarterback, returns for his 15th season as part of the football staff. Travares Tillman, Alfred Pupunu and Brian Michalowski will round out Tucker’s staff. The board also approved a one-year contract extension for men’s basketball head coach Tad Boyle, who will now serve as coach through the 2023–24 season.

The board is meeting on Feb. 14 in executive session, which is not open to the public. Full details on all presentations are available on BoardDocs.